Getting to Know Brianne Chasanoff

Brianne Chasanoff, from New Fairfield, Connecticut, has been trained as a classical vocalist and pianist and has earned her strips accompanying other musicians and singers in a variety of different musical milieus.  She’s played in orchestras for plays, chorus ensembles, church services of all kinds and covered the range from Broadway to classical to pop.  Many of the people whom she has performed before have no idea that there’s a secret side of Brianne—a side that is much more personal and connected to the music she plays….because that music is her own.

Brianne Chasanoff is one of 24 Emerging Artists chosen for this year’s Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.  The Emerging Artist showcase is always one of the highlights of the festival. The musicians are chosen by a three-member jury and are given the opportunity to perform two songs (not to exceed ten minutes).  The audience votes for their favorites and three or four acts are asked to return to the main stage the following year.

To learn more about Brianne, visit her website.

Here’s a lovely video of “Here Forever.”

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In reading your bio, it sounds as though music has been an integral part of your life since you were very young.  Do you recall how the power of music made you feel when you listened to it?  And how did it change once you began to play music?

Music has always been an extremely powerful tool for me when I listened to it. It could transform my mood instantly. I remember playing music for as long as I can remember but when I started performing/composing (playing piano & singing) it became even more powerful for me because I could express myself through the music.

You have degrees in classical voice and piano as well as studio composition.  Do you still participate in shows or recordings that are more classical in nature?

Yes, I am a piano accompanist as well as a performer and music teacher. I accompany vocalists who perform various styles of music including classical music. I also composed a classical instrumental piece that can be heard on my most recent album, Breathe. If you listen closely to my music I’m sure you can also hear its classical influence.

Is it true that Sarah McLachlan’s music helped to change your mind about popular music?  What was it about Sarah’s songs that move you so much?

At the time I was attending high school, all I knew of popular music was what was being played on the radio. I wasn’t a big fan of it because I felt that it lacked a natural emotional quality. When a friend gave me a tape of Sarah Mclachlan’s Touch  and Fumbling Towards Ecstacy, I could hear the emotional depth in her voice. Her compositions and arrangements were also different from anything I’d ever heard on the radio and I immediately felt connected to her music.

Have you gone on to be inspired by other singer-songwriters?

Most definitely! Patty Griffin is a big one! Her poetic lyrics are inspiring as well as her compositions and the way she expresses herself vocally.  I’m also inspired by Damien Rice, Ingrid Michaelson, The Beatles, and Joni Mitchell among many others.

How do you get yourself into a frame of mind to create music?  Do you set time aside or do you wait for the muse to come and visit?

It has to happen naturally when it’s ready to come out. It’s usually inspired by something happening in my life, or someone else’s life.  Sometimes I write songs and I have no idea what they mean. The meaning of these songs often reveal themselves in the future as premonitions. If I want to get myself into a frame of mind to create music, listening to artists that inspire me may spark a few words or put me in the mood to write.

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You’ve recorded two albums, Breathe (2013) and Broken (2007).  How would you describe both of them?  Did the time between the two projects help you envision new possibilities in the studio or are they pretty much compatible soundmates?

I’ve never stopped growing as a musician and being inspired by all genres of music. I believe there is a definitive difference between the two albums.  Breathe (2013) has a jazz and Dixieland influence among some of the tunes with brass arrangements while Broken (2007) has a mellow/sad tone throughout the album and its style is mostly ballad/pop. Both albums are similar in nature because they both contain songs that tell stories that the listener can identify with.

Have you ever attended Falcon Ridge Folk Festival before? If so, what did you think?  If not, what are your expectations?

I have never attended the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival before and I am very excited to have the opportunity to attend and perform! I look forward to meeting other musicians who share the same passion that I do. I walk through life having no expectations! Having no expectations makes life experiences much more exciting but I know it will be an amazing experience that I will always remember!

 

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